18 Jun 2014

PNG PM wins stay on arrest warrant

3:37 pm on 18 June 2014

The Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill, has won a week long stay on a police arrest warrant after a controversial morning in the National Court with two lawyers competing to represent the police.

Police are seeking to arrest Mr O'Neill over his alleged involvement in illegal payments made to the Paul Paraka law firm.

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill.

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill. Photo: RNZ

This morning at the National Court in Port Moresby two lawyers appeared to represent the police - the inhouse lawyer, Superintendent Nicholas Miviri and a new counsel, Paul Mawa.

Mr Mawa had been appointed by the new Police Commissioner, Geoffrey Vaki and the Attorney General, Ano Pala, who was appointed just last night.

The judge, Ere Kariko, adjourned the court to allow time for him to decide which of the men should be representing the police.

Our correspondent Todagia Kelola says when Judge Kariko returned he ruled that Mr Mawa was the rightful lawyer.

"When he granted Mawa to appear for the police force, Mr Mawa submitted that his instructions were not to oppose the prime minister's application to stay the warrant of arrest. He's in agreement with the prime minister's lawyers for the warrant of arrest to be stayed."

The stay is in force until the 25th of June.